2020 – Looking back

I make one of these posts every year, looking back at my plans at the beginning of the year, and what I actually did. Obviously, the big difference with other years is that all of the events I planned to sew for were cancelled this year. Despite that, I did actually end up making quite a bit from my list. I couldn’t wear the outfits to events, but I did dress up and make pictures, and I now have some nice additions for my wardrobe when events can happen again.

My plans started with the 1890’s, wanting to finish my new corset, make a blue petticoat, and then a green/black silk ball gown.

I actually did all of these, although I think I never even showed the finished corset? I’m wearing it in the top two pictures, it matches nicely with my petticoat!

For the day time, I planned to either re-make my Edwardian corset and tartan skirt to fit better, or to make a split skirt to go with a (modern, but fits the shape) sports sweater.

In the end, I did both. I enlarged the hips on my Edwardian corset, and added some gussets to my tartan skirt to fit my rib-cage. They aren’t the prettiest fixes, but definitely worth being able to wear them again.

I also made the split skirt, and later in the year added a sport’s blouse for a more summery version of the sport’s outfit. (Even though I haven’t actually worn the sport’s blouse with the split skirt yet…)

For the second half of the year, my plan was mostly to focus on the 1830’s, again for an event. I wanted to make a new dress, and then a white bodice for mix-matching and a hat, and maybe a coat.

In the end, I finished the dress, and started on the hat, which got done right after the new year. Because any urgency of an event was off, the blouse and coat never happened. I’d still like to make both, though.

The final plan I wrote down was to work on my 1780’s hand-sewn stays. I did work on them, though they didn’t progress quite as much as I’d hoped, and I’m still sewing boning channels. These are definitely a slow but steady type of project!

I did also make a number of things which weren’t planned. In April, American Duchess released a pattern for a lovely wrap cape, which I couldn’t resist making up.

In May and June, I went on a bit of a Regency sewing spree. (At that point, I still had some hopes for a Regency weekend in November…). I made new stays, which fit me quite a bit better than my old ones, made two dresses, and altered two spencers and a dress to fit better again.

Over the summer, I picked up an old project, for which I’d only done the drafting, and made my folded jacket.

And finally, after finishing the 1830’s dress I made a stripey bustle gown. This really was a palate-cleanser type of project, using cotton and poly taffeta, and making the design such that I could use patterns without any adaptation. That made the whole process much quicker, and it is such a fun dress to wear!

For the final months of the year, I took a step away from the big historical projects, and just worked on my bonnet and some unfinished stuff. The main thing I finished was a modern dress made from a fun panel fabric (adapted from “IJsvermaak bij een stad”, painted by Avercamp ca 1620). This project had been in the ufo basket since I had to change plans due to too little fabric. It isn’t the prettiest thing I’ve ever made sewing wise (and reminded me I don’t know enough about sewing knits…), but I’m glad it’s done, and it does look nice when worn!

2020 – Plans!

After looking back, it’s time to look ahead! As usual, my most concrete plans have to do with events, and everything else is a bit less defined.

Firstly, 1895! I’ll be going to Bath in May for Isabela’s Victorian ball, and preparations have started. A ball gown is the main thing, and then a day-outfit for the day after.

I have started a new corset, which is just waiting for the boning (which still has to arrive) and then binding.

The other under-thing to make is my final petticoat. I plan to also use this as a test-run for the skirt pattern. I have a blue glazed cotton I’m planning to mix with pale blue lace and white flounces. I don’t know how accurate the blue-white combo is this way, but colored petticoats were definitely a thing!

1898 Vintage Fashion - H.O'Neills Spring & Summer Catalogue Page 31 - Victorian Ladies Skirts | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

For the dress, I’m planning on using a green dupioni with black organza overlay. I don’t have one specific example, but it’ll probably be a mix between something like this;

Green/black, with silk dupioni?

And something like this:

Portrait of Countess of Santiago | Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida | oil painting

I really want to take my time with this project, and use historical techniques as much as possible. Interfacing the skirt with tartan, having a hem facing and brush braid, slightly gathering channels for boning in the bodice, etc. May sounds like a long way away, but with my speed I know I’ll need time if I really want to pay attention to the details!

For the breakfast the day after I haven’t quite decided yet. My Edwardian tartan outfit might be an option (slightly stretching the theme…), but I do need to fix the skirt to properly fit again (would be a good incentive in any case!). Another option would be a sporty outfit, as I recently found a modern sweater which actually looks a lot like the 1895 sport sweaters. Whatever I decide, I do want to make something to go with the sweater. Specifically, I have a beautiful wool fabric and the TV299 split skirt pattern I want to make up.

An example of a sport sweater, and a split skirt from the MET.

bumble button: advertismentAmerican cycling suit, circa 1896. This particular ensemble features a bifurcated skirt that allows the rider a more comfortable ride while also giving the modest appearance of a skirt at front. Other more daring ensembles feature fully bifurcated Knickerbockers. This suit also includes a pair of gaiters, which provide protection for the legs.

For the first half of the year, this is the only planned event for which I really need to make something. Plans for the second half are not finalized yet, but I’m looking into going to England again in fall for a 1830’s event. In that case, I’d want to make the 1830’s dress I have materials and plans for, based on this original (but in green):

Concord museum collection - but in moss green, tucks in skirt?

Concord museum

I also really like the idea of having a white cotton bodice to wear with a colored skirt, so I might make that as well to go with the green skirt, and increase versatility.

All The Pretty Dresses: 1830's Bodice

And I’d need to make a bonnet (I do already have a pattern), and perhaps a cap.

hats fashion print original 19th century french antique engraving no 3

It would also be a good opportunity to finish the pelerine which goes with my gold dress, as in the original outfit.

I also bought some wool to make an 1830’s coat. That’s pushing plans into the more ambitions though, so who knows whether it would actually happen. But, something like this?

Coat

For my non-event related plans, I mainly want to work on my new stays. I genuinely don’t know if I’ll finish those in a year, but I would like to at least have finished all boning channels and main construction. As I’ll also be working on other things in-between progress will be slower than in October, but slow and steady also works!

20191024_184640

The stays will look like something like this for quite a while yet!

And that’s it for the somewhat concrete plans! I have a whole lot of fabric in my stash of which I know what I want to make out of it, but as usual planning and impulse at the time will probably dictate what else (if anything) happens and what does not.